Founded at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania

Race Has No Place in Precision Oncology


Health Equity

“Imagine this. A 35-year-old woman has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her doctor encourages her to consider genetic testing, explaining that it could help pick the best treatment for her – and may answer whether her family members are at a higher risk for cancer too. The woman talks with her friend, a woman about her age, who also has breast cancer and is seeing the same doctor. But her friend hasn’t heard anything about genetic testing. Similar age, similar diagnosis. What’s the difference?

Kelsey Lau-Min

“The first woman is white; her friend is Black.

“Studies show that minority patients with breast cancer are 50 to 65 percent less likely than white patients to get genetic testing, even if it is free or covered by insurance,” write PC3I Fellow Kelsey Lau-Min, MD, Director Justin Bekelman, MD, and affiliates Carmen Guerra, MD, MSCE and Katherine Nathanson in a MedPage Today opinion piece.

“Genetic testing is the first step in precision oncology – individualizing treatments based on a person’s hereditary risk or the molecular characteristics of their cancer. A doctor’s recommendation is a singular predictor of whether patients get genetic counseling and testing, surpassing even cost, culture, and patient attitudes. Today, we must reimagine how to help doctors make sound clinical decisions to achieve precision oncology’s north star: ‘the right treatments, at the right time, every time to the right person.'”

Justin Bekelman

Continue reading at MedPage Today.

Race Has No Place in Precision Oncology was authored by Kelsey S. Lau-Min, MD; Carmen E. Guerra, MD, MSCE; Katherine L. Nathanson, MD; and Justin E. Bekelman, MD for MedPage Today. Further insight can be found in JCO Precision Oncology.

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